Whether you’re dealing with an expected slow season (like winter months in the Midwest) or an unexpected one (like a national pandemic), it can be uncomfortable to go from busy to … not. I try to remind myself during slow periods in business that there are times of the year I crave downtime.
While it can be difficult to not panic, it’s also important to remember that everything is a season. Slow periods are just as important as busy ones, and can bring with them much needed time to reflect and organize ourselves for what comes next.
So you know all those projects you’ve said you’re going to do “when life slows down?” Well guess what? Life has slowed down, and you’ve been handed the opportunity to finally do them. If you’re not sure exactly what can be done, I’ve put together a list of things to not only keep you busy, but also get your business in great shape for when things pick back up again–because they will.
Does your website still have photos on it from when you were building your portfolio? Do you have three new clauses to add to your contracts? Did your address change, but remain the same in all those important places? Now is the time to update what you’ve always said you’d update when you finally had time.
I happen to love blogging, but I know for a lot of business owners it’s the last thing on their priority list. But if you’ve got time, it can be a great idea to go through past sessions/projects/work and start updating your blog. It’s a huge help with SEO, helps you stay top-of-mind with clients and potential clients, and makes you look in demand–always a good thing!
Does your office space look like your kitchen/taxes/junk drawer exploded? Because same. Now is a great time to tidy that up! Whether it’s your desk (guilty), or something else like your email inbox or file cabinet, take this time to get organized so your life is less hectic when things pick back up. If not, you’ll wish you did!
One of the things I need to tackle sooner rather than later is my laptop. Do you constantly get those ‘disc is almost full’ messages too or is it just me? Organizing files and folders can seem like something you’ll never have time for, so when you finally have free space in your life to accomplish it, do! These types of organizational progress set you up for major success later on, like when things pick up again.
As business owners, we already spend a ton of time with individual clients; sending emails, checking in, educating. Our inboxes are full all of the time! Wouldn’t it be nice to automate some of that?
I use Dubsado as my CRM (customer relationship manager), and one of my favorite features is the ability to add workflows. This means I can create a series of steps of each type of client–wedding, branding, commercial–and these steps will occur at a certain time for each individual client, without me having to do anything. Whether I want to prep someone on what to wear, send a session reminder email, or ask for a Google review after their session, it can all be done without me doing a thing.
It also ensures that all my clients have the same awesome client experience. I won’t have anyone saying, well you told so-and-so about that tip but you never told me! It’s all automated.
These workflows became my assistant before I could actually hire an assistant. Seriously–they are that much of a game changer! The only problem with them is that they can be overwhelming and time consuming to set up, especially if you’ve never done it before. Setting up workflows is the perfect thing to fill your time if you’re in a slow season! This will seriously save you hours when clients are filling your calendar again.
Just a note–the link above is an affiliate link, which means that at no cost to you, I receive a referral credit if you sign up for Dubsado. Thank you for your support!
It can be really easy when things get quiet to go quiet yourself. Don’t get me wrong, we all need time to unplug, and we absolutely need to honor our bodies and feelings if we just need to rest. But when you’re starting to feel energized again, don’t be silent. Stay active on social media, reach out to your people, and show what’s happening behind the scenes. The idea is to stay top-of-mind for your potential clients, even if you’re not swamped with client work.
People love to see what goes on behind the curtain–it’s why “reality” TV is so popular! Give them that dose of your daily life and stay in front of them. Then, when your business starts to pick back up and life resumes, you’ll be who they think of when they need the service you offer.
Rethink your Client Experience
I’m a firm believer that the best way to attract more clients is to build a personal brand (I love using social media), and have a killer client experience. It can be challenging to think through all the ins and outs of client experience when you’re drowning in clients, which is why this is another great activity for when things slow down.
In my opinion, the key to a great client experience is being proactive. How can you serve your clients and answer their questions before they even have them? If you’ve been doing this for a while, you likely know the questions that clients tend to ask along the way. If you tend to get an email the day before a photography session asking where to meet, can you be proactive and send that email before they ask? (Bonus points if you include it in an automation!)
This goes into client education as well. If the first question after a client books is, “What should I wear?” can you send a “Thanks for Booking” email with a link to a blog post including tips and tricks for dressing your family? Answering questions before your client has the chance to ask them is a great way to make them feel taken care of, and make you look like the expert you are. And when your client has a positive experience and feels taken care of, the referrals keep coming!
Would you add anything to this list? What do you like to do when your schedule gets slow?